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It’s almost that time of year —The Masters. The most special week in golf. People always ask: why is The Masters so special? The Masters is the only international sporting event that is completely untouched by the commercial forces that make people say, “yeah it was fun, but it’s not like it used to be.”
From the setting in Augusta, Georgia, to the reverence for the sport of golf and its traditions, to the event’s ban on marketing on the green: the Masters is a stand-alone example of an event whose priorities remain steadfast and wholesome.
Because the Masters is America’s most important annual golf tournament many people compare the Masters to the Super Bowl. But this comparison couldn’t be further from the truth. For one thing, more than half of the folks in the stands the Super Bowl are not even fans of the final teams: they are there for the crowds, the halftime concert, the celebrity sightings, the media hype, and the potential selfies. Consider for a moment that one of the most talked about aspects of the Super Bowl each year is the commercials. Now consider that, at the Masters, absolutely no sponsor advertisements are allowed on the course. The tone is so different between these two events that there is no comparison to be had.
The Masters takes place in Augusta, Georgia, the state’s second most populous city behind Atlanta. Though the city offers a worthwhile portion of historic architecture and scenic views in its downtown area, Augusta also has many of the features of your typical American sprawl. Especially on its outskirts, you can expect to see lots of fast food chains and strip malls along the highways. The drive out to the Augusta National Golf Club isn’t a scenic one: as you approach the golf course on Washington Road, prepare to be bombarded with billboards and advertisements for Krispy Kreme Donuts, Outback Steakhouse, Walgreens, Hooters, Olive Garden, and Waffle House, among others. Then, you turn into the Augusta National parking area and immediately leave it all behind.
When you step foot on Augusta National, all the stresses of our fast-paced modern world melt away. There is not an advertisement in sight. Everything is immaculate. The grass is trimmed so perfectly that it looks more like Astroturf. Every fallen leaf is raked up. Every fallen pine needle is swept away.
The grounds of the golf course were a nursery before club founder, Bobby Jones, built the course in the 1930s. This horticultural legacy is still visible on the course. Many of the trees, which are huge and magnificent, predate the Civil War. A great game of golf is determined as much by athletic talent as it is by great gardening. The Masters does both of things better than anywhere else.
The other major golf tournaments all rotate cities and venues every year. This is also true of countless other big sporting events. The Masters, however, is the only major golf tournament that is played on the same course every year, and always during the first full week of April. Holding the tournament in the same place every year grounds the event in the sport itself. Rising stars and unknown hopefuls compete on the very same pitch that hundreds of legends before them did. And as the first major tournament of the year, there is a ceremonial importance to holding it in the same place. The Masters represents the first step of each golfer’s dream of winning the Grand Slam. Only the winner of the Masters has that opportunity going forward.
Augusta National Country Club has done an amazing job of lovingly maintaining their many traditions through the years. Their insistence on doing things by the book adds an element of nostalgia to the tournament that is lacking in other sports. Even as the game of golf has progressed with new technology and new stars, the Masters never loses sight of the history and traditions of the sport.
So get ready for the best week in golf, in our opinion. The week of April 8. Stop in and watch some the coverage with us, because you know we will have it on in the shop.